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Mark Oppenheimer
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Entries by Mark Oppenheimer

Kindle a book, light my fire

(1) Comments | Posted June 29, 2009 | 10:22 AM

I was in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, and I went into Bridge Street Books, located nowhere near Bridge Street, from what I could tell. It was on Pennsylvania Ave. off M Street, the main thoroughfare of Georgetown. The proprietor, who sat to the left, immediately upon the entrance,...

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Who's Against the New Urbanism?

(3) Comments | Posted June 15, 2009 | 3:37 PM

As I wrote this morning at the New Haven Review (where I would love to receive comments):

I have been thinking about turning this article I wrote about my street, West Rock Avenue, into a book, and so I have been doing a lot of reading about urbanism,...

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George Scialabba v'Eretz Yisrael

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2009 | 2:55 PM

Posted this morning at the New Haven Review, which now has new posts about the arts, letters, and politics every day (comments accepted there):

At long last, the critic George Scialabba is getting some love. I only met George once, about ten years ago, and I...

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Kumar of "Harold and Kumar" to be president someday?

(1) Comments | Posted January 19, 2009 | 3:52 PM

Look, I know it sounds a little ridiculous right now, but when one reads about actor Kal Penn, weed-addled, eponymous Kumar in the Harold and Kumar movies, getting a standing O at the inaugural concert, let us not sneer. First consider, from the Chicago Tribune by way of Andrew...

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Prop 8, Templeton Foundation, "Homophobia" -- An Insider's View

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2008 | 7:34 PM

The Templeton Foundation is capitalized at $1.3 billion, gave away $70 million in 2007, and sponsors the richest annual prize given to an individual: Michael Heller, the winner of the 2008 Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities, took home $1.6 million, more than any Nobel...

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And They Say There's No Good Music Any More...

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2008 | 11:11 AM

Disclaimer: one of the CD's I'm about to urge on you is by a band I'm really tight with (go way back with) and the other is by a friend of a friend. But I'm not going to let conflicts of interest get in the way of your pleasure.

Picks...

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Best Thing Yet About the Obama New Yorker cover

(11) Comments | Posted July 20, 2008 | 3:10 PM

If you haven't seen it yet, check out Lee Siegel's extremely smart piece about the New Yorker cover depicting Barack and Michelle Obama as anti-American, Osama-sympathizing radicals. It's the first piece I've seen that really gets at why the art didn't work as satire.

In short, Siegel is arguing...

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Dumbest Media Move of the Year So Far?

(8) Comments | Posted May 14, 2008 | 10:50 PM

Word came down earlier this week that after a months-long search, the board that controls the Forward, the prestigious and storied Jewish weekly in New York City, was preparing to offer the editorship to Jane Eisner, the former editorial page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Now, I don't...

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The Best Meteorology Novel of the Year

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2008 | 2:13 PM

A review of mine that just appeared in The Forward:

Atmospheric Disturbances
By Rivka Galchen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 256 pages, $24.

Having just finished "Atmospheric Disturbances," Rivka Galchen's first novel, I find myself strangely unable to stop thinking about "Bandits," the last Elmore Leonard novel I...

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Elizabeth Wurtzel Endorses Obama

(1) Comments | Posted April 13, 2008 | 2:16 PM

I've known Elizabeth Wurtzel for about eight years now. We were introduced by a Hasidic rabbi in New Haven whose guest room Elizabeth was staying in when she was having a hard time getting any good writing done in New York. I had never read Prozac Nation, so she wasn't...

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On Not Abandoning Your (or Sen. Obama's) Church

(4) Comments | Posted March 17, 2008 | 7:53 PM

I blogged yesterday about Sen. Obama's various reasons for sticking with a congregation whose pastor he surely disagrees with. Then today I read this comment sent to Andrew Sullivan's blog, then posted by him:

We left our synagogue recently, the synagogue at which both of our children were...
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How the Obama/Wright Debate Gets Religion All Wrong

(35) Comments | Posted March 17, 2008 | 12:57 AM

I haven't been following the to-do about Barack Obama's preacher-man very closely, because I've already read enough to know this: people who think that Wright's words have anything to say about Obama don't just misunderstand Obama -- whose record on racial harmony seems pretty unassailable -- but they also misunderstand...

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How Maoists Are Like Scientologists

(16) Comments | Posted January 28, 2008 | 9:44 AM

It's been a crazy couple of weeks. First the Scientologists, then the Maoists. You should see my e-mail inbox.

After the video of Tom Cruise offering inspirational advice to Scientologists was leaked on the interweb -- and God bless Gawker for being unafraid to keep the link live --...

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The L Word: Janet Malcolm tackles Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2007 | 9:18 PM

Given her belief in the instability of knowledge, Janet Malcolm is, on principle, always at a loss for clear answers. Instead, she has mastered the finely honed question. In The Silent Woman, what interested Malcolm -- and the happily implicated reader -- was whether Sylvia Plath had been treated fairly...

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Vanity Fair's Big Blunder

(8) Comments | Posted September 25, 2007 | 7:00 PM

I can't be sure why Vanity Fair editors did not put this gorgeous David Margolick piece, about the 50th anniversary of the integration of the Little Rock schools, in their print edition. Margolick is one of their marquis writers, one of the best long-form journalists working. (Full disclosure: I...

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The Matthew Scully Debate Misses the Point: Bush has Never Given a Good Speech

(14) Comments | Posted August 28, 2007 | 11:41 AM

Former White House speechwriter Matthew Scully's article in The Atlantic, accusing his boss Michael Gerson of claiming too much credit for President Bush's speeches, has elicited the predictable defenses of Gerson from die-hard Bushies.

But it also has the distinction of being one of those pieces that unites...

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Pulitzer Winner Failed Major Exams in Graduate School!

(18) Comments | Posted August 12, 2007 | 6:20 PM

OK--did that hook your attention? I feel bad about the headline already. Because although it's true that Debby Applegate, whose biography of Henry Ward Beecher just won the Pulitzer Prize,

did hit some speed bumps in grad school, she went on to write an engaging and award-winning...

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The New Haven Review of Books Debuts

(0) Comments | Posted August 8, 2007 | 2:44 PM

Many of you will know the legend of how the New York Review of Books was founded: there was a newspaper strike in New York in 1963, and a bunch of scary smart friends decided that if they couldn't read their Times Book Review, they'd just have to start...

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Jenna Elfman, Will You Be My Scientologist Friend?

(43) Comments | Posted August 2, 2007 | 11:53 AM

So Jenna Elfman never returned my calls. But my reporting for my New York Times Magazine piece on Scientology has kept my life interesting. I posted this piece on Slate yesterday in which I defended Scientology ... sort of.

While accusing the church of weirdness, pyramid-scheme-like financing,...

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What I Learned About Scientology

(25) Comments | Posted July 15, 2007 | 11:03 PM

I have finally emerged from several months with the Scientologists, and much to my family's relief, I am still here. I haven't been sucked into a cult, I haven't been taken for all my money. In fact, I have decided that Scientology isn't a cult, or at least not much...

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